"The barricade Saint Antoine was monstrous; it was three
stories high and seven hundred feet long. It barred from one corner
to the other the vast mouth of the Faubourg, that is to say, three
streets; ravined, jagged, notched, abrupt, indented with an immense
rent, buttressed with mounds which were themselves bastions, pushing
out capes here and there, strongly supported by the two great promontories
of houses of the Faubourg, it rose like a cyclopean embankment at
the foot of the terrible square which saw the 14th of July. Nineteen
barricades stood at intervals along the streets in the rear of this
mother barricade. Merely from seeing it, you felt in the Faubourg
the immense agonizing suffering which had reached that extreme moment
when distress rushes into catastrophe. Of what was this barricade
made? Of the ruins of three six-story houses, torn down for the
purpose, said some. Of the prodigy of all passions said others.
It had the woeful aspect of all the works of hatred: Ruin. You might
say: who built that? You might also say: who destroyed that? It
was the improvisation of ebullition. Here! that door! that grating!
that shed! that casement! that broken furnace! that cracked pot!
Bring it all! throw on all! push, roll, dig, dismantle, overturn,
tear down all! It was the collaboration of the pavement, the pebble,
the timber, the iron bar, the chip, the broken square, the stripped
chair, the cabbage stump, the scrap, the rag, and the malediction.
It was great and it was little. It was the bottomless pit parodied
upon the spot by chaos come again. The mass with the atom; the side
was all thrown down and the broken dish; a menacing fraternization
of all rubbish. Sisyphus had cast in his rock and Job his potsherd.
Upon the whole, terrible. It was the acropolis of the ragamuffins.
Carts overturned roughened the slope; an immense dray was displayed
there, crosswise, the axle pointing to the sky, and seemed a scar
upon the tumultuous facade; an omnibus, cheerily hoisted by main
strength to the very top of the pile, as if the architects of that
savagery would add sauciness to terror, presented its unharnessed
pole to unknown horses of the air. " (Hugo 1014-1015)